Help for homeowners in domestic building disputes

Our Domestic Building Legal Service provides assistance to eligible Victorian homeowners involved in domestic building disputes with their builders.

To access the Service, homeowners must meet our eligibility criteria and have first been through the Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria (DBDRV) process.

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Domestic Building Dispute Resolution Victoria 

DBDRV is an independent Victorian government agency that provides free services to help resolve domestic building disputes between homeowners and builders.

Before a homeowner (or builder) can access the DBDRV’s dispute resolution services, they first have to try to resolve the dispute directly with the other party.  The DBDRV website contains some tips on how to resolve a dispute.

If you can’t resolve your dispute directly with the builder, you can approach the DBDRV.

Applications to DBDRV can be made by:

  • homeowners
  • builders
  • sub-contractors
  • architects.

To be eligible to access the DBDRV process, the dispute must:

  • involve the homeowners
  • not have been to VCAT (either currently or in the past)
  • not relate to building work that was completed more than 10 years ago
  • be about domestic building work – that is, construction, renovation, alternation, extension, demolition, improvements or (some) repairs to a home.

Domestic Building Insurance

Builders are required to take out a domestic building insurance (DBI) insurance policy on behalf of homeowners for all domestic building projects over $16,000.

DBI Policies are issued on behalf of the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA).

DBI policies cover loss and damage resulting from building works which have not been completed, or are defective, where the builder has:

  • died, disappeared or become insolvent
    OR
  • failed to comply with a Tribunal or Court Order where DBI was issued by VMIA on or after 1 July 2015.

Learn more information about DBI, including how to make a claim.

Victorian Building Authority 

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) administers and enforces the Building Act 1993 (Vic).  The conduct of registered or licensed building and plumbing practitioners is a primary focus of the VBA.

The VBA:

  • Registers building practitioners
  • Registers and licenses plumbing practitioners
  • Investigates the conduct of registered building practitioners, and registered and licensd plumbing practitioners
  • Investigates breaches and offences of building legislation
  • Undertakes inspections, investigations and audits to ensure builders and plumbers comply with their obligations.

There are several matters outside the jurisdiction of the VBA.

The VBA cannot:

  • Resolve disputes
  • Award financial compensation
  • Direct a building practitioner to provide financial compensation.

Other relevant organisations

Sometimes, none of the above organisations will have the power to help you with your dispute.  In these situations, you may have to contact other organisations for assistance to resolve your dispute.

For example:

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